A good headset can make a big difference when playing games. Whether you like to get immersed in the game with the music of sound effects or you need to hear every enemy footstep to know where they are, choosing the right pair of headphones for you can be quite a task. You should look at overall build quality, how comfortable they are, how they sound, and if the microphone sounds good. If you don’t need a microphone, then most wired, audiophile headphones would be a good option.
We've tested over 605 headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best gaming headsets to buy. Also, see our recommendations for the best PS4 headsets, the best Xbox One headsets, the best PS5 headsets, and the best Xbox Series X/S headsets.
The best gaming headset that we've tested is the Astro A50 Gen 4 Wireless 2019. These wireless headphones come with a base station that provides a very low latency connection. It also serves as a charging station for the headphones, which last for roughly 17 hours of continuous use from a single charge, so you can game for hours without worrying about running out of battery.
They have an impressive build quality and a very comfortable fit, with deep, spacious earcups and a well-padded headband. Their default sound profile is quite well-balanced, with some overemphasis in the bass range that adds extra boom and helps to emphasize sound effects in action-packed games. You can also customize their sound with a graphic EQ and presets in the companion software. The boom mic has a great overall performance, so your voice sounds clear and natural, even when you're speaking from a loud or crowded setting.
Unfortunately, the base station is advertised as console-locked, so you need to purchase the appropriate variant for either PlayStation or Xbox. Both versions work wirelessly with PCs, though. Otherwise, if you're looking for wireless gaming headphones, these offer low latency and a customizable gaming experience.
If you want gaming headphones that are Bluetooth-compatible, you may prefer the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless. These headphones have much higher non-Bluetooth latency than the Astro A50 Gen 4 Wireless 2019, and they aren't as comfortable, but since they support Bluetooth, you can use them to stream music from your phone while you game. Their default sound profile is more neutral and less bass-rich than the Astro's, which might suit you, but if you prefer a different sound, it can also be customized with a graphic EQ and presets in their companion software. The boom mic has a similar, great overall performance, and they come with two swappable batteries. Unfortunately, these headphones are much more prone to inconsistent bass and treble delivery, so you may need to readjust them on your head before every gaming session to get the same sound every time.
If you want the headset that offers lower latency over non-Bluetooth wireless, go for the Astro, but consider the SteelSeries instead if you want Bluetooth-compatible gaming headphones.
The Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2019 is the best wired gaming headset that we've tested. These headphones can be purchased in either a PS4 or Xbox One variant, so it's important to get the right variant for your console. They also come with a MixAmp, which offers controls like channel mixing, EQ presets, and volume as you game. It offers a few inputs, and you can daisy-chain several amps together if you're at a gaming tournament.
They have a comfortable fit with soft padding and feel well-built. Their ear cups have swappable speaker tags, and you can purchase different styles from the manufacturer to give the headphones a different look. Thanks to their open-back design, they have a great passive soundstage to help immerse you in your audio. They also have a warm default sound profile that can help bring out sound effects in your gameplay. Their detachable boom mic does a great job of recording your voice and can separate it from background noise so that you're heard clearly.
Unfortunately, they leak a lot of audio due to their open-back design, and others around you can hear it, even in a moderately noisy environment. They don't block out much background noise. However, if you plan to game in quieter spaces like at home, these headphones are a suitable choice for users who prefer a wired design.
If you want a less expensive pair of wired gaming headphones, you may prefer the Logitech G433 Gaming Headset. They aren't as well-built or comfortable as the Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2019, but they're more affordable. They also leak somewhat less audio and isolate you from a bit of mid-range noise, so they should somewhat reduce the sound of ambient conversations. Their default sound profile is very neutral, but if you prefer a different sound, you can use the Logitech G Hub companion software and customize it to suit you. Similar to the Astro, their detachable boom mic has an excellent recording quality and should capture your voice clearly, even in noisy environments. However, they leak quite a bit of audio and don't isolate you from any bass-range noise, like the sound of bus and plane engines.
Go for the Astro if you want more comfortable, better-built headphones, but check out the Logitech if you're looking for a more budget-friendly option or prefer headphones with a closed-back design.
The best gaming headset for Xbox Series X that we've tested is the SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless. These wireless gaming headphones have Xbox Wireless Technology built-in, which ensures decently low audio latency while you game. They also support Bluetooth, so you can stream your favorite music from your phone while remaining connected to your console.
Out-of-the-box, these headphones have a pretty balanced and neutral sound profile that's suitable for lots of different audio content. Since they're compatible with SteelSeries Engine software, you can also access their 10-band graphic EQ or presets if you want to customize their sound to your liking. They also have a retractable boom mic that does a great job of recording your voice, even in noisy environments. They deliver roughly 28 hours of continuous battery life, which should be enough for long gaming marathons.
Unfortunately, they're prone to inconsistencies in their bass and treble delivery, and you may especially notice a drop in bass if you have thick hair or wear glasses. Some users have also reported that their headphones disconnect on their own, which could be a result of minor interference. However, these headphones offer a versatile and customizable audio experience that should still please most Xbox Series X gamers.
If you want a gaming headset that offers lower latency, consider the Razer Kaira Pro Wireless. These headphones can't be used wired and have a shorter continuous battery life than the SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless, but they provide a lower latency connection over non-Bluetooth wireless, so you shouldn't experience a noticeable delay between the visuals and audio of your game. They're well-built, comfortable, and have a detachable boom mic with an amazing overall performance, so your teammates can hear you clearly, even when you're in a noisy environment. Their default sound profile is warm and quite boomy, which some may like, but if you find it overwhelming, you can also customize it with a graphic EQ and presets in their companion software. However, these headphones are prone to inconsistent bass and treble delivery, so you may need to adjust their fit, seal, and positioning every time you wear them.
Go for the SteelSeries if you want headphones that can be used wirelessly or wired, or if you prefer a longer continuous battery life. Consider the Razer instead if very low latency via non-Bluetooth wireless is a priority.
The best budget gaming headset that we've tested is the Logitech G432 Gaming Headset. While these gaming headphones have a simple physical design, they offer a customizable gaming experience at a wallet-friendly price. Since they're wired, they're fully compatible with consoles that have an AUX port, but they also come with a USB adapter that you can use to game on PCs or PS4 consoles.
Out of the box, these headphones lack a bit of low-bass but have a very neutral mid-range that helps keep dialogue clear, present, and detailed. Luckily, if you prefer a different sound, their companion software offers a 10-band graphic EQ as well as presets so that you can tweak their sound to better suit your needs. Their boom microphone also does an excellent job of recording your voice. It can also separate speech from background noise, so your teammates hear you clearly, even in loud environments.
Unfortunately, their build quality is just okay. However, they still feel very plasticky, and their joints don't feel very sturdy. Like many other gaming headphones, they're also prone to inconsistencies in their audio delivery. Their passive soundstage is perceived as unnatural and as if coming from inside your head rather than from in out in front of you too. That said, if you're looking for wallet-friendly gaming headphones and don't mind their wired design, they're a suitable choice.
Jul 29, 2021: Replaced the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless with the Astro A50 Gen 4 Wireless 2019 as the 'Best Gaming Headset' since they now offer a better wireless gaming performance due to Test Bench 1.5 updates. Made the SteelSeries the 'Alternative With Bluetooth' to the Astro and moved the Logitech G PRO X WIRELESS LIGHTSPEED Gaming Headset to Notable Mentions. Added the Razer Kaira Pro Wireless as the 'Alternative With Lower Latency' to the SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless.
Jul 01, 2021: We've checked the text for accuracy and product availability, but there hasn't been a change in our recommendations.
Jun 02, 2021: Replaced the Logitech G933 Wireless Gaming Headset with the Logitech G PRO X WIRELESS LIGHTSPEED Gaming Headset as the G PRO X WIRELESS LIGHTSPEED offer better value for most users. Also renamed this pick from 'More Customizable Alternative' to 'More Comfortable Alternative'.
May 03, 2021: Checked picks to make sure the best product are still being recommended and that they're in stock.
Apr 07, 2021: Minor updates to the text; no changes in product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best gaming headphones and the best gaming earbuds to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our headphones reviews, sorted by their wireless gaming performance. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection, especially if you don't care about having a microphone or wireless features.